Swimming Safety

dog swimming safety wisteria goldensGoldens love to swim! This is an overview of the Swimming Safety guidelines to give your dog the most enjoyable swimming experience. Swimming is good exercise, when approached with safety first, will provide opportunities for socialization, training, and playtime combined. This article is not comprehensive. Use this list to begin your preparation for a safe swimming adventure with your dog.

  1. Water Quality
    • Choose where you swim with care. Check for notices of water quality (each time you go in case of incident). In general: If the water is safe for people it is safe for your pet.
  2. Obstacles
    • Evaluate any potential safety issues regarding obstacles in and around the water. Is the water moving (creeks for example) and are there under currents?
    • Check for debris (litter, glass, sharp objects), plants (poisonous or sticker), sharp rocks, etc.
  3. People and Their Pets
    • Is the swimming area populated with other people and pets? If so, be cautious and use a leash upon arrival to social your dog with the other people and their pets before removing the leash for free play.
  4. Leash Rules
    • It is highly recommended to only choose swimming areas for your dog where it is allowed to remove the leash. NOTE: DROWNING CAUTION It is unsafe to leave a leash on your dog while he/she is swimming because it could become tangled in something underwater and drag him under.
  5. Agility and Endurance
    • Plan your swimming time according to your dog’s age, agility, and endurance level. It is ok for your dog to use up energy but, it isn’t healthy to continue swimming to the point of exhaustion. You are the best advocate of your dog’s health.
    • If you dog hasn’t been swimming before (or in awhile) build the amount of time swimming gradually. Think about how you might approach returning to the gym after a break. Each time you go you can stay a little longer.
  6. Obedience Level
    • This is the most important safety topic in every area of your dog’s life. The level of obedience your dog has developed can be the fundamental element to determining how enjoyable any activity is.

IMPORTANT: DROWNING CAUTION Teach your puppy/dog how to get out of the pool. This is an overlooked safety issue which has had devastating consequences.

Swimming Safety Socialization Before You Go

There are several ways you can practice your swimming outing at home before you go. Using the above list you can create mini-versions of the kind of communication skills you will need to master and prepare your dog for a healthy and safe swimming experience.

Swimming Safety – Doctor Sarah

Swimming Safety Dr Sarah

This video is a great review of the checklist as well as additional information to ensure you and your dog are prepared for a safe and fun swim outing. Swimming Safety Dr Sarah

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